Working With Newborn Feeding Schedules
Newborns feed very, very frequently, but this isnt a problem that needs to be solved.
Its perfectly natural!
Your newborns tummy is quite small. They simply need to fill it up regularly.
Formula-fed newborns may need to eat slightly less often than breastfed newborns because it takes a newborns tummy longer to digest and break down formula.
So babies tend to feel fuller for longer periods of time. Breast milk, on the other hand, is digested fairly quickly.
How much breastmilk or formula does your baby need?
Every situation is different, of course, but if your baby is formula-fed, you can use a fairly simple formula to determine approximately how many ounces your baby needs in a day.
Simply multiply your babys weight by 2.5.
For example, an 8-pound baby would need about 20 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period.
If your baby is breastfed, the general rule is that most newborns need between 20 and 30 ounces of breastmilk .
How often should you feed your baby?
In general, if you are exclusively nursing, its best to nurse on demand in the first few weeks after birth to ensure that your milk supply becomes well-established. In fact, in order to maintain your supply, youll need to nurse every 2 to 3 hours, on average.
Once your baby is past 3 months of age and is in the infant stage, that will slowly stretch into 5-6 hours, and then 7-8, and eventually right up to 10 or 11 hours once your baby is 9 months old or 10 months old.
A Newborns Natural Rhythm
For the first week, your infant is going to be sleeping about 16-18 hours every day.
shell adjust to sleeping around 15-17 hours a day , and get up about 2-3 times during the night to eat.
For breastfeeding moms, you can expect her to eat every 1.5 hours to 3 hours . Dont allow her to go longer than 3 hours between feedings or your milk may suffer and she may not gain weight.
For formula feeding parents, your baby will eat less often. Expect her to chug 2-3 ounces every three to four hours.
Week Old Sleep Schedule / 2 Month Old Sleep Schedule Development And Sleep Patterns
Your newborns sleep patterns: By 8 weeks old/2 months old, many babies are sleeping longer at night and we start to see earlier and earlier bedtimes as your baby lengthens nighttime sleep to 11-12 hours and they nap 3-4 hours during the day, on average. They still need ~14-16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. However, if your baby still has a later bedtime, that isnt too uncommon. Until your baby is sleeping 11-12 hours at night, you really dont want an 8 PM or earlier bedtime else you will have to start your day WAY too early! In addition, your baby may have been eating just 1-2 times a night but once they lengthen their nighttime sleep, this might mean a night feeding creeps back in, temporarily.
Some parents stop swaddling around this age because baby is rolling which can become problematic for sleep. This can lead to more night-waking and shorter naps. In addition, there is commonly an 8-week growth spurt to keep in mind.
Here is what your 8-week-olds schedule may look similar to:
|8 Week Old/2 Month Old Sleep Schedule|
|3:30 AM||Milk and Diaper Change|
Please note: Not all babies, especially breastfed babies, can transition to just two night feedings by this age, especially if they are in bed for 12 hours. Some babies are still getting three night feedings and that would be within averages.
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How To Rock Out A Newborn Sleep Schedule
Youre a parenting ROCK STAR, my friend, and this schedule helps you feel like it.
Ill be honest with you, a newborn sleep schedule has less to do with you and more to do with your newborn.
In fact, a newborn schedule in the first 4 weeks doesnt look too much like a schedule. Theres no napping appointment at 9:30. No bottle at 11 to check off the list.
If a standard schedule is like playing Bach, a newborn sleep schedule would be improvising jazz. Both schedules have the same general notes to follow , but at the end of the jam-session they sound completely different.
Baby Sleep Training For 8
As babys approach their 1st birthday they are leaving their infant habits behind and becoming more toddler-like. You might be hearing more sounds and babble. Your baby may be on the move more too with crawling or pulling up to furniture. There are some early walkers too! Gulp.
Babies are eating more solids and might start to feed themselves some finger food. When it comes to sleep you might see time changes when they wake-up and go to sleep at night. Their nap times may adjust too. Babies may drop down to one shorter nap and one long nap. They might be sleeping through the night too.
Amount of sleep needed: 12-16 hours a day
- 7:00-9:30 am: Awake for morning nap
- 9:30-11 am: Morning nap
- 4:00 pm-7:00: Awake for dinner and evening routine
- 7:00 pm: Bedtime routine
- 7:30 pm: Bedtime
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Sleep Patterns Of Newborns
The most important thing to know about the sleep schedule of a newborn is that they don’t have one. This early on in their life, babies dont have a set internal clock nor have they established a sleep schedule. Newborn babies can sleep between 14 – 17 hours in a 24 hour day. Some babies could even sleep up to 19 hours a day! Breastfeed babies usually eat every 2-3 hours so those first two months are broken down between feeding and sleeping.
The Key To A Good Newborn Routine
This may be so simple it goes without saying but the key to a good routine is keeping the routine.
It can be tricky to remember everything in order when youre beginning, but once you get the hang of it, routine will be second nature.
It can seem very difficult to get started doing or keeping a routine when you do not have one at all. Here are some ways you can learn to keep your routine.
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What Are Some Common Sleep Problems
- Sleep deprivation: Some children dont get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because they arent getting enough naptime or aren’t getting to bed early enough.
- : Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if they feel upset that you are not there. Try an extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open when you put them to bed.
- Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.
Stages Of Sleep In Newborns
The sleep of newborns occurs in four stages:
Stage 1: Drowsiness. Your baby becomes drowsy after a period of wakefulness and is ready to fall asleep. Itâs a good idea to put your baby to sleep in her crib when she is drowsy and not yet asleep.
Stage 2: REM or active sleep. Your baby may start to twitch or jerk his arms and legs, and his eyes may move under his eyelids. His breathing may be irregular and stop for 5 to 10 seconds. This is referred to as ânormal periodic breathing of infancy.â His breathing speeds up to a rate of between 50 and 60 breaths per minute, and this rapid pace lasts between 10 and 15 seconds. Then his breathing will return to a regular pace, with the cycle repeating. This type of breathing is completely normal for young babies, and your little one will eventually grow out of it by around 6 months old.
Stage 3: Light sleep. In this stage, your babyâs breathing is regular and sleep is not as active as in the previous stage.
Stage 4 and 5: Deep or non-REM sleep. Also known as quiet sleep, this is the stage your baby falls into a deep sleep. There is no twitching or any other movements. It may be difficult to wake your baby in this stage should you need to for any reason.
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References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep
Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.
Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.
Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.
Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.
Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.
Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.
Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.
Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.
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How Much Rem Sleep Do Babies Get
Newborn babies spend roughly 50% of their time asleep in REM. Since newborns sleep up to 18 hours each 24-hour period, that means they experience up to nine hours of REM each day.
As a babys sleep schedule changes, so do their sleep cycles. Baby REM sleep is one part of the sleep cycle that changes over time. However, there is no simple chart outlining sleep cycle length or REM by age.
As babies grow and sleep fewer hours, they spend less of their sleep time in the REM stage. By adulthood, people experience REM for roughly 20% of each nights sleep, which is far less than the 50% of sleep newborns spend in REM.
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Signs Your Newborn Is Tired
Your baby may get tired after any activity – a feed, a nappy change, or when youve had a cuddle or playtime. Theyll likely get tired after theyve been awake for one to one and a half hours.
When theyre tired, your baby might:
- clench or suck on their fists
- have tense or jerky movements
- arch backwards
- have trouble focusing, or stare into space
- startle easily.
Appreciate The Power Of A 30
When youre running up an enormous sleep debt, you might think a 30-minute nap will make little difference to your health.
But recent research confirms that all naps are not the same. When youre sleep deprived, the brain compensates by rendering naps more restorative than usual.
In one study, volunteers permitted to sleep only 2 hours at night showed the typical abnormalities in their stress hormone and immune factor chemistry. But after just two 30-minute naps, those irregularities were entirely normalized .
In another study, volunteers coping with a 2-hour nightly regimen experienced heightened pain sensitivity a common symptom of sleep deprivation. But once again, the effect was reversed after just two 30-minute naps .
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What Are The Different Alert Phases Of A Newborn
Babies also have differences in how alert they are during the time they are awake. When a newborn awakens at the end of the sleep cycles, there is typically a quiet alert phase. This is a time when the baby is very still, but awake and taking in the environment. During the quiet alert time, babies may look or stare at objects, and respond to sounds and motion. This phase usually progresses to the active alert phase in which the baby is attentive to sounds and sights, and moves actively. After this phase is a crying phase. The baby’s body moves erratically, and he or she may cry loudly. Babies can easily be overstimulated during the crying phase. It is usually best to find a way of calming the baby and the environment. Holding a baby close or swaddling may help calm a crying baby.
It is usually best to feed babies before they reach the crying phase. During the crying phase, they can be so upset that they may refuse the breast or bottle. In newborns, crying is a late sign of hunger.
How Long Will My Newborn Sleep
Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.
Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.
The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.
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To 4 Month Baby Sleep Schedule
Total sleep: 13-14 hours of snooze.
The day starts… a little earlier now. Most babies this age wake around 6am.
Napping: Your baby will settle into 2-3 daily naps, totaling 4-8 hours of sleep.
Nighttime sleep…shifts a bit earlier, with your baby going down around 9pm. Theyll also sleep longer, still waking for a feeding or two. Longest unbroken sleep is usually around 5-8 hours .
Heads up: Look out for the 3-month sleep regression! It can suddenly appear, with your baby starting to wake up like a newbornevery few hoursand want to play or cuddlebut refusing to sleep alone.
Also, at 2 to 3 months of age when swaddling is stopped, your baby may start to startle more, roll more and wake many times a night.